Fights, Camera, Salmon: Alliance Tournament XI Day Three in Pictures (Part One)
Day 3 of EVE Online's eSports extravaganza, Alliance Tournament XI, saw the presentation quality of the the Twitch-streamed 6-hour marathon sparkle with class.
The studio team were looking particularly suave, with perennial tournament presenter (and EVE's lead designer), Kristoffer 'CCP Soundwave' Touborg, eschewing his usual hobo-chic and opting to shave and wear a shirt and tie.
The Danish anchor was joined by a rotating team of pundits and commentators including former players-turned-devs CCP Fozzie, CCP Rise and CCP Dolan as well as returning player-expert Shadoo and newcomers to the tournament team, Apathetic Brent and Bacchanalian, who both showed impressive knowledge and character on their debut appearances.
The studio itself is stylishly austere which, after last year's distracting green-screen background, was an understandible choice.
L-R: CCP Fozzie, Apathetic Brent, CCP Rise (header shot features L-R: CCP Dolan, Bacchanalian, Shadoo, CCP Soundwave)
The in-studio discussion was supported by some very slick infographics attempting to explain some of the complex technical aspects of the tournament presentation and EVE's combat mechanics.
The Carnival of Explosions
Of course, it was the matches themselves that told the important stories.
Last weekend saw the first 16 contenders of the initial 64 eliminated from the competition. Yesterday, the double elimination format saw another 16 alliance teams sent to the wrecker's yard with 6 more losing their first match and left clinging on by their tractor beams.
In as few words as possible, here's how it went down (winners emboldened in title).
Match #65: SCUM. vs. Sleeper Social Club
Staring defeat in the face, Sleeper Social Club target-paint and fire on 1BoroBoy1's Sleipnir command ship in a last ditch attempt to claw back some desperately needed points, but it wasn't enough and SCUM. send their opponents out of the competition.
Match #66: R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N vs. The Fourth District
This closely fought match saw early success for The Fourth District's electronic warfare strategy, but the tenacious R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N fought their way back to a one-point lead. The closing minutes were taut and delicately balanced, but with seconds to go Sillandra Kachira's Oneiros logistics cruiser exploded, putting the result beyond doubt.
Match #67: Outbreak. vs. Circle-Of-Two
Before each match, starting fleet compositions are influenced by the banning system, which allows each team to prevent the use of two ship types. Here we see Outbreak. had vetoed the capacitor-draining Bhaalgorn battleship and the range-reducing Celestis cruiser and Circle-of-Two denied the field to the ubiquitous Dominix battleship and the popular Oneiros logistics cruiser.
The stalemate which saw no losses for either side for the first third of the match is finally broken as Circle-of-Two successfully penetrate Outbreak.'s chain-linked "tinkertank" defence setup by destroying the pivotal Tengu strategic cruiser of Aldamir Anarion. After that, the tide swiftly turns in Circle-of-Two's favour.
A post-match camparison of two key players in the match sees discussion of the ill-fated Outbreak. Tengu pilot Aldamir Anarion and Circle-of-Two's first casualty, Armageddon battleship specialist Sebastien Saintfrusquin.
Match #68: Perihelion Alliance vs. Curatores Veritatis Alliance
Knowing they stood very little chance against the superior numbers of Curatores Veritatis Alliance, fielding only three Scorpion battleships, Perihelion Alliance clearly didn't come with a pitched battle in mind...
...flying to the edge of the arena, instead the crowd-pleasing Perihelion Alliance used the new micro-jump drives to propel their ships far beyond the "Edge of Glory", setting a new record. They may be out of the competition, but Kadra, IceGuerilla and Minuteman are now New Eden's answer to Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins:
"One small micro-jump for capsuleers, one giant leap for tournament kind."
Match #69: Rainbow Dash Friends vs. Nulli Secunda
Rainbow Dash Friends throw everything (well, three Brutix Navy Issue battlecruisers, an Absolution command ship and a Hurricane Fleet Issue battlecruiser) at Andrew Curtin's Scimitar logistics cruiser, whose destruction triggers a cascade of exploding ships on both sides, leaving only three survivors at the end of the match - all in Nulli Secunda ships.
Nulli Secunda's last pilots standing (flying?): Canaris Roshaak and Rhodin Lazarith in Gila faction cruisers and Cale Sathnor in a Rattlesnake faction battleship. That says something about the Guristas pirate faction behind the reptile-themed Caldari hull conversions, dontchathink?
Match #70: Sicarius Draconis vs. Exiled Ones
With first blood to Sicarius Draconis as they felled Forekk's Basilisk logistics cruiser, things were looking bleak for Exiled Ones, but it came down to a breathless race between the destruction of XardasGothic's Golem marauder battleship and Sicarius Draconis' expensive flagship Vindicator flown by Scrutt5. Whichever exploded first would swing the pendulum of damage output irreversibly in one direction.
Match #71: Surely You're Joking vs. Clockwork Pineapple
This was a tit-for-tat match which always saw Clockwork Pineapple in front on points, but a unlikely comeback was always within grasp for Surely You're Joking until their Rattlesnake battleships went boom, taking the ability to deal any threatening amount of damage with them.
An honorable mention was well-earned by Surely You're Joking Harpy assault frigate pilot, Vinzent Nikcla. Vinzent, realising he was the last pilot alive on his team fled to the arena edge and came to a stop, luring the hilariously named Honus Arsebolt to inadvertently cross the Edge of Glory and explode instantaneously due to the boundary violation. Clockwork Pineapple were still the victors by some margin, but this was a brilliantly defiant moment. It clearly pleased CCP Fozzie.
Match #72: Choke Point vs. RAZOR Alliance
A RAZOR Alliance Hyperion battleship leads the charge headlong into the belly of the Choke Point fleet, who are concentrating their firepower on the RAZOR Alliance flagship, an Armageddon battleship flown by sevyn nine.
A cagily fought battle sees few losses for the first half of match and the points remained close until the RAZOR Alliance flagship fell. Sevyn nine's Armageddon could not withstand the constant barrage of missile from the trio of Choke Point Typhoon battleships.
RAZOR Alliance fought a valiant rear-guard action for the remainder of the match, but with their flagship gone, they were hopelessly outgunned. A Choke Point Vengeance assault frigate looks on as mrpapageorgio's Hyperion battleship is finally ripped apart at the close of the match.
Match #73: HUN Reloaded vs. The G0dfathers
Both of these teams are well-respected tournament competitors, who were likely surprised to be facing elimination at this stage. Stakes were high and early exchanges between them saw HUN Reloaded's assault frigate wing decimated in exchange for Sergeant Brut's Hurricane Fleet Issue battlecruiser. A fair exchange?
The G0dfathers' strategy collapses as their damage output slows as more and more of their heavyhitting battlecruisers fall to HUN Reloaded's missile salvoes. Apparently, HUN Reloaded didn't need those tackling assault frigates and their tactic of target-painter supported missile barrages works effectively to obliterate opposition of all sizes.
Match #74: Angeli Mortis vs. End of Life
A ferocious exchange of fire surprisingly without loss punctuates the first third of the match as each fleet probes for weaknesses in defence, but both teams logistics pilots, each flying Oneiroses, manage to keep their teammates alive with vital remote repairing.
The deadlock is broken with the destruction of the Angeli Mortis Oneiros, subsequently followed by their supporting cruisers and frigates. General Vachot's Vindicator battleship is downed in reply - keeping the points close - but the surviving Angeli Mortis pilots know that, unless End of Life also lose their logistics cruiser, things won't end well for them. With the clock ticking down, they focus fire on tinymouse's Oneiros.
Angeli Mortis' efforts are in vain as with the help of supporting maintenance drones, tinymouse stubbornly refuses to die. Instead, it is Stardred's Typhoon Fleet Issue battleship that explodes as blackish person victoriously orbits the wreckage in his Tristan frigate.
NEXT: Alliance Tournament XI Day Three in Pictures (Part Two)